Preseason MWC Co-Player of the Year Lindsy Hartsock will look to lead the Cougars to victory in their season-opener at Nevada on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The Cougars open up the 2005 season this weekend on the road as BYU travels to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack. With first-year head coach Jason Watson at the helm and a talented collection of returning players and newcomers, the Cougars hope to start the year off with a bang and show why they are the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West title.
"Nevada is an experienced team, which is sure to have high expectations for their season," said Watson. "They are a great early test for our team. While we've had a great series of practices leading up to this match, I'm looking forward to watching us compete against a quality opponent this Saturday."
Junior middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock, the nation's second-best blocker last year, headlines a roster featuring six returning starters among 10 returning letterwinners. Two-time All-MWC honoree Lauren Richards Evans is back in the setter spot for her senior year while fellow seniors Lexi Brown Patterson and Kim Wilson, who received 2004 All-MWC recognition, both return with starting experience. Libero Lindsey Evans and outside hitter Erica Lott, both sophomores, round out the BYU cache of returning starters. Lott and Richards Evans have been named to the 2005 Preseason All-MWC team while Hartsock has been selected as the preseason Co-Player of the Year.
Watson will be making his head-coaching debut against the Wolf Pack with the help of first-year BYU assistant Brent Aldridge, who comes to the Cougars after three years as an assistant at New Mexico, and Brooke Huebner in her second year on the bench for BYU.
Nevada opens the season after finishing 21-10 last year and making an appearance in the First Round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Head Coach Devin Scruggs, in her ninth season, owns a 140-94 record with the Wolf Pack, who return seven starters among eight letterwinners. BYU owns a 2-1 series lead against Nevada with the most recent meeting being a BYU sweep in 2003.